Lebanon: Thousands commemorate 2005 killing of ex-PM Hariri

The commemoration of the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri attracted thousands in what was a day of remembrance and political mobilisation on February 14, French-language Lebanese newspaper L’Orient-Le Jour reported. 

Hariri served as the country’s premier on two occasions, firstly from 1992 to 1998, then making a return in 2000 before resigning in 2004. He was assassinated at the age of 60 in a lethal explosion, which also killed 22 others as well as injuring 225, on February 14 2005 in Beirut. 

The suicide bombing was committed by two members of Lebanese militants Hezbollah and in 2022, a UN-backed court sentenced the pair to a lifetime prison sentence. 

The crowd in the Lebanese capital paid tribute to the long-serving leader as Saad Hariri, Rafic’s son, paid his respects at the former Prime Minister’s tomb. 

READ: Lebanese judge fails to arrest ex-ministers accused of Beirut bombing

Politics runs in the family as Saad Hariri ,53, rose to the political limelight following the death of his father. Representing the Future Movement, a Sunni Islamist and a right wing, Lebanese nationalist party, Saad Hariri became Prime Minister in 2009 and served until 2011. After a five year break, he was back in the hot seat, serving from 2016 to 2020.  

The streets were painted in blue and white (the Future Movement’s colours) as the crowd were egging on a Hariri comeback.  

One of the attendees could be heard saying, “We want Saad Hariri to Lebanon so that security and stability can return.” 

Despite resigning in 2020, the 53-year-old was still a member of parliament however he announced he announced his resignation from politics in 2022 in protest against what he perceived to be a failing Lebanese political class. He had boycotted a parliamentary election that year. 

He now lives in the United Arab Emirates, and arrived in Beirut a few days prior to the commemoration, and a political resurgence in the near future may not seem too far fetched given the political and economic turmoil that Lebanon is enduring. 

L’Orient-Le Jour 

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